Polynesians are Taking Over Sports and Entertainment

Although 2016 has been labeled by many as the worse year of this 17 year long century, the last year allowed for many Polynesians to excel in their respective crafts.

From dominating on the football field as usual to sweeping through the most acclaimed awards in Hollywood, it was quite the year for Polynesia. Here are some praiseworthy moments:

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson claims his stake as the worlds highest paid actor raking in $64.5 million (Forbes).
HBO Ballers Season 2 Red Carpet Premiere and Reception in Miami

We all have our favorite rocky lines and have at least once in our life shouted the words “if you smeeeeeellllll!? well, you know the rest, but this year has to be his most impressive.

Along with releasing the number one comedy of the year alongside Kevin Hart in Central Intelligence, The Rock has had a busy year shooting the HBO series “Ballers,” and the now famous animation “Moana.”

He also has been working on films such as Baywatch, Fast 8 and Jumanji. Can you smell that?

At age 16, Destanee Aiava competes in the Australian Open.

Image result for destanee aiava

Although she lost her first Grand Slam match on Monday, Jan. 16th, she has been climbing the ranks quickly and her name has already begun to gain traction.

This week she got to hit with her long life idol Serena Williams, and has continued to play with elite company.

Watch for Destanee, the only player who was born in this century to play in a grand slam tournament, to continue to get better and rack up more wins against elite competition.

Reggae artist J Boog and Hawaiian Contemporary artist Kalani Pe’a invited to the Grammy’s.

kalani-pea-and-j-boog

Some of you remember the beginnings of J Boog’s career with songs like “Love Seasons,” and “lets do it again.” Others have only recently picked up his music.

At first it seemed as if underground reggae would be his only outlet, but he continued to gain popularity by releasing hit after hit.

This year he is nominated for Reggae Album of the year with his latest EP – “Rose Petals,” a prestigious award that puts him with the likes of Ziggy and Damian Marley, Shaggy, Sean Paul and other popular mainstream reggae artists.

Kalani Pe’a however, was nominated for best folk album with his debut album “E Walea.”

This category was added in 2011 and is award that acknowledges the best folk music from various cultures.

If Kalani, a Hawaii native who speaks Hawaiian fluently wins this award, he would be the first Hawaiian, or Polynesian for that matter, to receive this honor.

Moana makes headlines with Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations.

Image result for Moana

Polynesians all over the world got to experience something they never have: Seeing a reflection of themselves on the big screen.

Although there were some inaccuracies pointed out and an outburst in the Polynesian communities about where Moana is actually from (it’s okay guys she’s just a cartoon), for the most part this animation was received with love and admiration.

This heroine allowed our Polynesian sons and daughters to vicariously live through these animated characters while giving the world around us a taste of Polynesia.

Moana was nominated for two Golden Globes including best original song and best animation (which they didn’t win), but still has a chance to claim the Oscar for best animated feature in February.

This is just the beginning.

There are many other notable performances with many Polynesian’s like Danny Shelton, Marcus Mariota and Steven Adams excelling in professional sports and Jason Momoa coming in the much anticipated “Justice league” as “Aquaman.”

The truth is, our talents are everywhere and have penetrated the very core of mainstream media with fresh style, culture and flavor.

Perhaps the most impressive feat of all is how small we are in numbers.

We come from tiny places scattered throughout the South Pacific yet our talents and aspirations are as big as the ocean that surrounds us. That’s what makes us amazing. That’s what makes us Polynesian.

What/who else is missing from this list? Let Me know!

Sources:

Robehmed, N. (2016, August 25). The World’s Highest-Paid Actors 2016: The Rock Leads With Knockout $64.5 Million Year. Retrieved January 17, 2017, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/natalierobehmed/2016/08/25/the-worlds-highest-paid-actors-2016-the-rock-leads-with-knockout-64-5-million-year/#15e7ea2145da

http://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2017/01/92-minutes-on-court-lifetime-of-experience-for-destanee/63363/

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-grammys-2017-nominations-winners-list-20161205-story.html

https://ohmy.disney.com/news/2016/12/12/moana-and-zootopia-nominated-for-golden-globe-awards-see-filmmakers-reactions/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLM – Unpacking My Beliefs on MLK Day

mlk

A couple months ago, over 2,000 staff, faculty and students wore “Black Lives Matter” shirts to show the support and commitment they have to their black students.

In an article written by CNN reporter AJ Wellingham, many educators got together to support the BLM movement in their public schools http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/21/health/seattle-teachers-black-lives-matter-trnd/.

Some called it heroic and inspiring. Others were sickened.

There has been much controversy surrounding the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and whether you agree with it or not, kids in Seattle and all over the U.S. have been exposed to this phrase day in and day out.

My older brother, the first in my family to graduate from college, is a Seattle teacher whom supports the movement.

So do other peers, family members and mentors I know who work for the Seattle education system.

In Ellensburg, Wa where i go to school, most hate BLM and– to this day– I often have to hear about it.

Let me share how I, a Polynesian college student from Seattle, feel about it.

In the 6th grade a cop stopped me and my brother on the way to 7-11. My older brother asked why we were stopped, to which the cop responded “just wait here long hair.”

“Man, we ain´t do shit,” shot out of my brother’s mouth. “Talk like a nigga and I treat you like a nigga. Got it?” the officer said sternly.

I never thought anything of that incident accept that I, a Polynesian who had just moved to Seattle from Hawaii, must be a nigga.

I remembered thinking “I’m not even black,” but somehow my image or the way I talked made me a nigga.

Now, it´s not just about a jerk cop who called me a nigga. It´s everything else.

I was told that I was supposed to be dumb, so I said stupid things. I was told Samoans were tough, so I internalized an intimidating persona.

I watched my peers who were also minorities experience the same kind of abuse by internalizing stereotypes, while listening to micro-aggression after micro-aggression, not realizing the damage it was doing to them psychologically

Black and brown students are told so many things growing up, but rarely were we told that we mattered.

This is my experience, the problem is, not everyone has to identify with this experience.

If you were never called a nigger, never racially profiled or felt belittled because of the color of your skin, chances are, BLM makes you angry, uncomfortable, or both.

I am not black but I stand in solidarity with my minority counterparts. What doesn´t make sense to me is the level sensitivity and anger people who do not agree with BLM approach me with.

There are discrepancies in our systems, Institutionalized racism is a real thing and we will never fix anything until we admit there is a problem. So why not let other lives matter?

People of color did not just wake up and decide that they were the superior race. If that´s what you think, then you are missing the movement and this form of “creative suffering,” will never end.

It is okay. We know you matter. We know we all matter, but obviously, some lives matter more than others.

“Unwarranted Fear”

15094981_10155411086649027_13571610775739013_nMy brother calls me in tears, all 235 lbs. of him.

Lying down in the piercing silence of my white-walled room, staring at my blank white ceiling, I pick up the phone.

On the other side of the line I hear silence coupled with throat clearing and long heavy sighs.

Finally, he says what he needs to say.

“Hey man, don’t be going out late.”

I’m use to these kinds of phone calls. I mean, he’s my big brother. He’s supposed to say things like “go to class,” or “be careful.” But this time his voice is tinted with a heavy heart.

“I’m serious man, I can’t…I know how it can be out there and I need you to be safe.”

I assure him that I will be and that the KKK threat was not attached to any violent acts, but now, tears begin to roll down my cheeks.

You see my older brother protects me. He always has and always will, but this time he feels like he can’t.

It’s not like the time he confronted my 6th grade bully, or the time we mourned our brothers death and he told me “Everything’s going to be alright.”

This time is different.

“Watch your temper, man. No, for real, because I swear if something ever happened to you…”

I hear it in his voice: the trembling and helplessness knowing that this time is different. This time he can’t fight my battles and tell me everything will be alright. He can’t defend me or confront my bullies.

“Please. Please just be careful…okay?”

No older brother should have to feel this way and I had so much to say.

“Don’t worry.”

“Nothing will ever happen to me.”

“I’m safe.”

But I too could not bring myself to confidently say those things without thinking about the white supremacy in my town and that now has a place in the White House.

100 something miles away, my brother calls me worried, worried that in a town like mine, I could be exposed to violence, exposed to people who hate me because of the color of my skin and exposed to injustices that we thought no longer existed until our president gave them a voice.

The only difference is this time; he can’t shield me from these things.

And that’s what hurts him the most.

People say we are overreacting and that our feelings of fear are “unwarranted.” That our president elect will do a good job in office and that it is purely about politics.

But those people are shades away from harm and do not have to consider skin color at the voting booths, a privilege that we don’t have and will never have.

When my brother’s finished talking I wait a second, gather myself, and respond with a soft “okay.” I want to tell him not to worry, but I know it won’t help.

As we finish talking we ended our conversation as we always do: with the exchange of “I love you’s.” As we hung up the phone, his “I love you” echoed through my room.

Through the white walls, sadness and fear, and back onto my white ceiling where I painted an America that made me feel just as safe and important as everyone else.
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How To Do Homework And Hangout With Friends

All right everyone. Tonight is a Thursday night and this week has been jam-packed with work, homework and late nights.

Some of you have been reading my blogs, some of you scroll past them, but none of you have to write them for a grade in majority of your communications classes.

So, here we are. It’s Thursday and the last thing I have looming over my head is a blog that’s due at 12 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. Ma or Carrie, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry for the procrastination!

Most of you are reading this like “dude, just write the damn blog.” Well, it’s not that easy.

I have a problem.

Some of my friends walked in about an hour ago with a box of (insert favorite beer here) and now I’m stuck in a stone cold dilemma.

Write my blog? Or call it a week?

Paranoia has me in front of my laptop typing away in a half circle with friends, so instead of skipping out on a blog, I’m going to tell you what life is like inside of this half circle:

My roommate Simi is pointing at me, dancing and bobbling his head back and forth. They are playing Bruno Mars’s new song “24k in the air” for the hundredth time.

I’m not going to lie. This song is dope.

Buba and Jesse join Simi in singing and—as if they’ve been practicing for weeks—shout out “hashtag blessed!” along with Bruno Mars.

That was also pretty dope.

Abruptly the song cuts off and a slow 80’s melody comes on (if you know Polynesian’s, this is when it gets real).

Buba quickly shouts, “Aw man, ya’ll don’t know nothin’ about this!”

“Slow Jams” by Morning Star is playing and yes, Buba is feelin’ himself.

Someone pauses the music mid-song and who walks in the door? Jordan and JT. Empty handed? Of course not, they have bags of McDonald’s.

“How’s the blogging coming uce?” Jordan asks (“uce” meaning “bro” in Samoan).

“Good uce! You barely made the cut,” I reply.

Jordan balls his hands into a fist knowing that means he’ll be written about in this weeks blog.

Everyone takes a seat and now, the real hanging out happens. In a Polynesian circle of friends, hanging out isn’t just talking.

It means singing at the top of your lungs, making fun of each other in every way possible, and loud hyena-like laughter.

I look up and Simi is trying to convince JT that his fries cannot runaway. He responds by eating more fries.

Jordan asks Buba to toss him a can. He drops it. This shouldn’t be a big deal, but Jordan is CWU’s running back and of course, jokes are made.

The song that is now playing has the lyrics “Won’t see me no more,” so the boys are looking at Simi singing “Won’t Si-mi no more.”

Woaaaah. Don’t mean to leave you readers hanging on a cliff, but my boy Elisha Pa’aga just walked in which means I gotta go!

Wouldn’t spend a Thursday night writing/hanging out with any other group of boys.

Peace!

 

PR: It’s Not All BS

Behind every Famous person, political campaign, company or growing business, you need someone pulling strings to make the general public like you. Yes, like you.

At an elementary level, that is what I tell people when they ask me to explain my major.

If you Google “public relations”, the following definition will appear: “The professional maintenance of a favorable public image by a company or other organization or a famous person.”

Say Donald Trump walks out to the podium and makes an offensive comment about a whole group of people based on his own preconceived ideologies; well I’d be the guy to clean up after him.

At least that’s a portion of the job.

Maybe I work for Nordstrom and we are looking for an upper-middle class, stylish representation of our company.

 Whose are target customers? What kinds of campaigns can we launch to get them to shop here? How do we keep our image and drive our bottom line up?

 I’d probably be in those discussions as well.

And the most basic and derogatory understanding of a PR professional; how do I trick you into buying our stuff, or eating up all this bullshit that I am shoving down your throats through advertisements, social media and news conferences.

I’ve heard the term “spin doctors” once, but like any occupation, one can thoroughly abuse the power they have.

PRSSA calls public relations a “strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

I prefer this definition simply because the addition of the phrase “mutually beneficial”, because that’s how I’d like to see the work I do in the future. I’d like to live in a “how can we help each other world.”

As one can see, there are many ways a PR professional can take their career. Politics, sports, retail, etc. but me? I’d like to somehow make a difference.

As a community worker and Higher education advocate, I’d like to work for a non-profit. Run their social media page, advertise resources to the public, you know, that kind of stuff.

Surprise, were not all in it for a quick buck, although it be nice as a struggling millennial who wants to have his own car, own a home and take picture book summer vacations with the family (still crossing my fingers).

Seriously though, it’s not all BS. With the rise of social media it’s a fun job to try and get people to notice you, work with you, and, depending on where you work, use your company.

It allows you to be creative, coordinate events, tell stories, and make short films. The opportunities with PR are endless.

I’ve always been indecisive about what I wanted to be. That’s why PR is perfect for those, who like me, want to do everything…and maybe we have a knack for swindling people to.

 

 

 

Why We Play

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Q&A: Nicholas Aumua 

INTERVIEW:

 Nicholas (Nick) Aumua, 20, Was born in California before moving to Washington state where he and his family lives in Auburn. Nick is of Samoan decent and a student athlete at Central Washington University, where he is working to earn his undergraduate degree in film and video studies. A standout athlete at Auburn high school, he quickly became the starting defensive tackle for the wildcat’s football team during his sophomore year. Nick represents a community of Polynesians who have dominated the sport of football and continue to represent their traditions and culture through an American-made sport. After graduating, he plans on pursuing a career in film and video studies.

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT YOU WERE BETTER THAN MOST AT FOOTBALL?

I started realizing my potential during my years in middle school. At the time my performance was obviously better than those around me and my size added to that.

WHAT ARE SOME OF SAMOA’S CULTURAL VALUES?

 The main value’s in my culture are God first, family, and then respect.

DO YOU THINK ANY OF THESE VALUES TRANSLATES TO THE GAME OF FOOTBALL?

 I think they do. Spiritually I need God and that’s where my strength comes from. Respect comes a long way; just treating everyone with respect, that means a lot. Coaches and players and even off the field. Family, that’s a big one too. Brotherhood is a theme in football and we take that seriously. We believe that if we have that bond, that’s what makes the difference and it just so happens that it comes naturally for me.

WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART ABOUT BEING A STUDENT ATHLETE?

 One of the hardest things is being on your own. I feel like that is a big part. Just growing up and learning how to be an adult and a student athlete. Another thing is money because not a lot of us have a lot of money and we have to stretch it out week to week. We try to make things last. For Polynesians it’s hard leaving home and going to college because we grow up so tight with our family, brothers and sisters and when we get a scholarship and it’s time to go, it’s one of the hardest things to leave your family. But at the same time it’s also a blessing to get a scholarship and do what you love at the next level.

WHAT WAS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT LEAVING HOME?

 Not seeing my parents a lot, my sisters, my girl…home cooked meals (chuckles). Not being around my church.

 IF ANY, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE STEREOTYPES THAT YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED ON CAMPUS?

 One of the stereotypes I’ve experienced on campus is mostly about my size. Automatically being an athlete just the way my frame is. It’s for sure in the back of their minds (other students) that “the way he looks”, Is like an athlete and nothing else because the way I look and the way I dress. I think that “athlete” sticks with me and that’s what people think. I feel like that’s the same with a lot of Polynesians on college campuses. We all look like athletes and people assume we are and that’s not true for everyone.

WHAT DOES YOUR EVERYDAY SCHEDULE LOOK LIKE DURING FOOTBALL SEASON?

 I wake up at 5:30 a.m. and get ready. Practice is from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Then I have class from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. From 2 p.m. to 3:45 I have film and then I am in required study hall until 6 p.m.

IF YOU COULD GIVE OTHER POLYNESIAN ATHLETES ADVICE, WHAT WOULD THAT BE?

 It would be a question to them saying, “Why are you here. What brought you to college and who do you do it for?” If you ask that question in your mind and you have an answer to it, that should be motivation for you to be the best you can be.

 

Being A Leader

martinlutherkingjr2We often view leadership as a quality that only a handful of people can obtain. It is what separates the shepherds from the sheep, The “X” factor if you will. Leaders have been known to be strong, resilient, charismatic, likeable, and intelligent. From our great historic leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., to the likes of our recent sports heroes that never seem to miss, score, or triumph when it counts the most, it is no secret that the trait that separates them from the rest is their great leadership. But what makes a great leader and are their stories always pretty? Are leaders born? or are they made? Do leaders have it easy? What should leaders expect in return? these are all questions I have recently come to ask myself in light of all the recent “leading” I’ve been asked to do.

Let me start by being tremendously blunt and maybe a little rash by saying that being a leader anywhere and anyhow is extremely annoying, hard, stressful and you are either thrown under the bus for being inadequate or taken for granted. Sometimes as a leader you can put in countless hours of work, sweat, and effort and never get the same in return. You can sacrifice your time and money but never feel as if you are being compensated. Being a leader can make you bitter. It can consume you and allow you to be so driven by your end goal that you forget why you started whatever it is that you started in the first place. It can leave you burnt out and worn and if you forget your purpose, leading can make you angry. As a leader you will struggle and you will fail multiple times before you catch a glimpse of success. So why should you want to be a leader? well the answer is quite simple. Because the change you inspire will always outweigh the rest.

mlkThere are times when we get down on ourselves when we’re in leadership roles for feeling inadequate, unprepared, or just in our own heads. Those are the times we need to look around and remind ourselves of all the good going on around us. We need to remember that the leaders who have come before us have similar stories and that all the struggling is a part of our own story. All the great leaders in the past found comfort in their community when they were overwhelmed. They knew that at the end of the day they could count on the people to the left and right of them. They would remind themselves of their purpose and keep pushing forward. Sometimes as leaders we forget about where it all started. we forget the simple things. We get so caught up in the ride that we forget to look out the window and enjoy the scenery. It’s in those times that we have to look around and actually SEE the change you and the people around you have begun to create.